Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)

Order: Falconiformes | Family: Falconidae | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult |  Sex: Unknown | Loc. Southwest Brazil

Age: Adult |  Sex: Unknown | Loc. Northwest Peru

Age: Adult |  Sex: Unknown | Loc. Norththwest Peru.

Age: Adult |  Sex: Unknown | Loc. Southwest Brazil

Identification & Behavior: ~57.5 cm (22.6 in). The Crested Caracara is blackish with a creamy-white throat and neck that grades to a breast barred with black. It has a black cap with a bushy crest. The tail is pale with fine dark barring and a black terminal band. The base of the beak, face, and throat are bright orange in adult birds and dull or pale orange-yellow in juvenile birds. The juvenile plumage is a dull  and browner version of the adult. The plumage pattern is unmistakable, but see Harris’s Hawk. The Crested Caracara and Southern Caracara were formerly considered two separate species but have now been merged into one, the Crested Caracara.

Status: The Crested Caracara is fairly common in northwest Peru but uncommon to rare in the open habitats of extreme southeastern Peru in Pampas del Heath. It appears to be increasing in the Puerto Maldonado area and along large rivers in Southeast Peru. It also occurs in Br, Bo and Ch.

Name in Spanish: Caracara Crestado.

Sub-species: Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus plancus), J. F. Miller 1777.  Mostly on the southern half of South America. (Caracara plancus plancus cheriway), Jacquin 1784. E. Panama and North South America to Northern Peru and Brazil.

Meaning of Name: Caracara: Tupi (Brazil) Caracara= indigenous onomatopoeia for the sound emitted by this bird in the Falcons family. plancus: L. plancus, plangos= eagle.

See more of the Family Falconidae   peru aves

Distribution Map


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 08/01/2015.